Norfolk’s Elizabeth Riverfront & Harbor Park

Resiliency Infrastructure Design & Constructability Plan


City of Norfolk Department of Resiliency


Norfolk, VA



The Resiliency Infrastructure Design and Constructability Plan focuses on Norfolk’s desire to accommodate projected sea level rise and tidal flooding by the year 2065. SGA’s design provides a seamless transition from the development areas through the flood mitigation infrastructure to the revitalized natural water’s edge while creating areas for active and passive recreation activities.

The design development strategy for the Harbor Park Study Area is focused on several critical components; linking economic development with the redevelopment of the Harbor Park brownfield properties, infrastructure improvements, ecologic restoration, sea level rise and tidal flooding resiliency, and an overall revitalization to the downtown Norfolk waterfront. Flood mitigation and resiliency strategies were used as primary elements to protect both Harbor Park as well as downtown Norfolk and surrounding industrial uses and nearby neighborhoods.

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced on November 15th, 2017 the award of $500,000 in Virginia Brownfields Restoration and economic redevelopment Assistance Fund (VBAF) Site Remediation funding to the City of Norfolk to advance the next step recommendations of this plan.

The proposed shoreline within the study area focuses on using flood mitigation strategies to facilitate both green infrastructure and economic development. Harbor Park improvements feature extending the Elizabeth River Trail, boardwalks, and kayak launches, promenades, upgraded marina bulkheads, and living shoreline restoration to revitalize the river edge condition to a more natural environment ensuring a long-term resilience to tidal changes as well as improving the rivers environmental quality.

This plan provides guidelines to galvanize the City of Norfolk’s waterfront vision by defining a firm, accessible, and economically viable foundation to support and foster development opportunities. True resiliency is achieved through several components discussed in detail within this document including: infrastructure assemblies that are integral to the viability of the study area; soft engineering components including restoration of the Elizabeth River’s edge through the creation of a living shoreline; hard engineering techniques that provide the protection from dynamic environmental conditions; and the technical next steps needed to advance the identified resiliency infrastructure. The technical next steps, especially, provide the detailed framework and immediate actions needed for Norfolk to advance its goal of protecting existing and future development and expanding Norfolk’s Eastern waterfront and Harbor Park areas.


Urban Design
Brownfields Reuse Planning
Parks, Recreation, & Green Space
Resiliency, Green Infrastructure, & Landscape Utilities